Can anyone suggest a brand of clear PLA that actually prints relatively clear or am I better off just getting the few parts I need to be transparent/translucent resin printed?
I have used IIId max crystal from 3DPC. It was clear and not yellowy like a lot of transparent filaments BUT it still has layer lines and therefore not truly transparent. It does give you a neat effect, artsy like, if you have the right internal structure which shows up through the wall of the print. Some types of PETG can be treated to make them very transparent.
That may be good enough - translucent and colorless but not completely transparent is likely ok. It’s more critical that light is able to easily pass through.
Try clear petg maybe. For whatever reason, petg is able to be made more clear than pla.
How it is printed seems to matter as much as what. III3 crystal isn’t bad I found it slightly yellow and the 5 rolls I have 3 were tangled. I had better results with PETG.
Ive always had issues with transparent filaments, either being too soft/brittle, to bother with making much with them.
That being said prusa did a blog article on printing with transparents
No matter how or what you print transparent material will have limits that have to be lived with. Don’t forget that after it is printed it may discolour with age, its just the nature of the beast.
Not directly on point to your question, but CNC Kitchen just dropped a video about printing with clear PETG:
It’s building on the Prusa Blog post Dr.Marvin linked so I’m not sure there’s any new information in it, but it seemed worth sharing.
Great video - I really like how the strength of the parts, for different parameters was tested and analyzed.
Okay so it seems PETG is the way to go. I have never printed with anything other than PLA - aside from higher temps and lower cooling what do I need to know? Is it better with an enclosure? Are the fumes nasty?
There’s really no fumes, enclosure unneeded. You may need to spend some time dialing in retraction and definitely getting the right first layer height to prevent nozzle drag. Bed needs to be hotter and absolutely use some type of interference layer if printing on glass bed, because it can bond permanently and break the glass otherwise. Personally I use a PC magnetic sheet or carbon fiber surface for PETG. At first you’ll probably want to start with a little less speed, a little thicker layers until you get it going good. It generally bonds best at around 255, but also gets real stringy at that temp, as well as most stock bowden hot ends not being safe at that temp. So don’t exceed the 240 mark for standard printing temps. Some people get lucky and it prints great with a stock printer and stock PETG profile, other people have less luck and need to practice a little more.
For clear petg reduce your cooling a lot, go slow.
You can use glass BUT you need to add a barrier onto it, like a heavy coat of glue (don’t miss any spots) or something like Majigoo. Expect some stringing.